Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Going Up!

     So, I've been mulling something over for the past few days.  (English nerd sidebar: I love the word "mulling."  We don't use it much any more. Too bad!  Probably because we don't do it much any more!)  Anyway, I have been thinking over this random thought, and it lead me to some interesting things.  Maybe it will be an encouragement to some of y'all too. 

     It started when I was having my devotional time a couple of days ago.  Last year, I was gifted a copy of "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.  (Disclaimer: I don't know much about this author, so don't take this as a blanket endorsement!)  It has short portions of Scripture and essays written as if Jesus was speaking directly to you.  This week has been focused on the rest Jesus gives us.

     Today's portion really brought out the inner conversations that I had been having with the Holy Spirit lately.  It was based on the Scripture verse Ephesians 2:6:

"And he hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
     The essay was about how Jesus wants to raise us up above the circumstances in our lives and make us more like Himself.  Which I know, right?  I mean, if you've been in church for any length of time, you have heard a message on that verse.  Jesus gives us the power in our Christian life if we walk in obedience to Him.  We can be above the circumstances, problems, trials, and temptations through Him.  Of simple, so obvious.

     But then this though came to me:  How often would I rather pull Jesus down to where I am rather than let Him pull me up?  Would I rather wallow in my frustrations than turn them over to Him?  It is so much more satisfying (to my self) to think of Jesus as my BFF who will listen to all my aggravations and agree (!!) with my side of each situation.  Without letting Him insert His opinions about what I should do.  And that's where the problem comes in.

     We have fallen into a trap of relegating Jesus to someone who is there to listen to us (which He does), feel sorry for our hurt feelings (He does care how we feel), and gleefully plot our plans for revenge with us (umm...maybe not so much).  We don't really want to rise above; we want to feel above.

     So, I ask myself: can I let Jesus pull me up, or will I try to pull Him down to sit with me and commiserate on my hurt feelings or aggravations?  Will I let Him take me above the circumstances and begin to view things from His point of view rather than assume He must see everything from mine, because of course I'm right?

     When Peter climbed out of the boat and started to walk to Jesus on the water, it certainly wouldn't have done him much good if he hadn't allowed Jesus to pull him up.  And Jesus didn't commiserate with Peter's fear---He asked him why he doubted and why he had such little faith.  (If I had been Peter, my first thought would have been, "Well, hey, I'm better than those guys...they didn't even try!")  But Peter let Jesus pull him above his circumstances (without patting him on the head and "affirming" him!) and they walked to the boat together.  And the Bible says that the storm didn't stop until they were on the boat.  Jesus didn't calm the storm until after Peter had walked through it by Jesus' side.

     So, the next time I have a circumstance that I want to be above, I want Jesus to pull me up to where He wants me to walk.  I want to walk through the storm by His side, on my way to those "heavenly places."  I want to be raised up!!  :)